On March 18, 2020, TCEQ’s Deputy Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement (OCE), Ramiro Garcia, Jr., issued an instructive email on how regulated entities can request enforcement discretion in situations of unavoidable noncompliance as a direct result of the coronavirus. The email provides that the regulated entities should email both OCE@tceq.texas.gov (OCE inbox) and Ramiro.Garcia@tceq.texas.gov with specific information regarding the request. “The email should contain at a minimum:
- Concise statement supporting request for enforcement discretion
- Anticipated duration of need for enforcement discretion
- Citation of rule / permit provision for which enforcement discretion is requested”
The email further provides that “regulated entities must maintain records that adequately document activities related to the noncompliance under enforcement discretion, including details of the regulated entity’s best efforts to comply. The OCE inbox will be monitored by multiple TCEQ staff, and the goal is to provide a response within 24 to 48 hours.
The email concludes with a statement that any questions can be directed to the OCE inbox. Additional regulatory guidance from TCEQ can be found on their website at this link. Jones Walker’s summary of previous TCEQ announcements regarding COVID-19 can be found here.